Sen. Irwin Introduces Bill to Expunge Cannabis Offenses from Criminal Records

LANSING — Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) today introduced a bill that would expunge the records of people convicted for possession or use of marihuana in Michigan. Senate Bill 416 would automatically clear criminal records for more than 235,000 people without requiring an application to the court that sentenced them.

Only 6% of those currently eligible for expungement apply because of the expensive, long, and uncertain expungement process.

“Automatic expungement for all of our lowest-level cannabis offenders allows people to move on with their lives and making it automatic is essential because many people can’t afford an attorney, or the legal fees associated with an application,” Sen. Irwin said. “Cannabis is now legal in Michigan and petty offenses in the past should be no barrier to getting back to work or school.”

The bill also extends additional opportunities for people convicted of growing or ‘possession with intent to distribute.’ People convicted for those cannabis crimes can apply to a judge to expunge their records, even if they exceed the current limit of more than two misdemeanors or one felony.

The legislation also directs courts to grant expungements in cases where the applicant was caught with amounts that are now legally allowed.

“This is the next step in ending the unsuccessful prohibition of marijuana that incarcerated and punished Michigan residents unfairly for decades,” Sen. Irwin said. “After last year’s mandate from voters, I am hopeful that a majority of legislators will vote to give Michigan residents back the opportunities that were unjustly taken from them.”

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